One of the first uses of a graphical throbber was in NCSA Mosaic. Command line versions did exist, but most were a spinning slash. Nowadays, with Ajax, they have become nothing more than variations of spinning gray wheels to indicate loading or buffering. Gone are the more creative ones like, Netscape, whose throbber is a condensed loop of how the dinosaurs became extinct.
Welcome to Mosaic Communications Corporation! It was 1994, and the World Wide Web as we know it today was about to be born. [more inside]
Through a random series of events, Jamie Zawinski (oooh, I'm such a name dropper :) sent me some very old archives of the Mosaic/Netscape sites and their beta browsers. Chuck Lau, the originator of the Netscape Museum has cleaned up some of them and has just put October 1994's entire mcom.com site online. Chuck's working on getting the others online (there's at least 5 or 6 more archives of the site at different points in 1994 and early 1995), and will also be putting up a page linking to an archive of the very oldest of Netscape/Mosaic's browsers. The browsers are currently sitting in dissarray on my workstation here. I tried out Mosaic 0.4 beta on my windows machine, about the only site that worked in it was Yahoo's.
When I got started on the web in '94-95, most pages were somehow related to Star Trek and recognizing William Shatner as the god that he is. It's funny, but the old stuff like the Mosaic's What's New page, Jerry Yang's homepage, and the machine he used to house his search engine on are all still online. Even good old Mosaic Communications' URL: mcom.com points to Netscape. Who says the web is temporary?